The game of rugby continues to attract fans across the globe who sit on the edges of their seats, catching every second of the game. Today, I introduce you to this game by giving you the basics of the game.
Let’s start with the ball. You probably know that it is oval, which adds to the uniqueness of the game. On the field, two teams go at it. The number of people per team depends on whether it’s a rugby union or rugby league play. In the former’s case, 15 players make up one team, and, in the latter, each team has 13 players.
Since time immemorial, people have been playing ball games. According to historical reports, the British were playing football as early as the 1st century BCE. The ball games evolved, and by the 15th century, football matches had become annual traditions in society. Most of these games are still in play today, having never lost their traction. Take the example of folk football. When it started, it was quite violent as the players were many and did not have to abide by any given rules. The game underwent several changes and finally became a dribbling game. In the Rugby School, football was particularly encouraged, and students could take part in the game, which continued to expand. At the time, all gameplays were played by foot.
So, how did rugby start? When did it become okay for players to pick up the ball, hold onto it and make their way to touchdown like their lives depend on it? While it’s not entirely clear whether the game’s origin is true, we have come to appreciate it. It dates back to 1823 when William Webb Ellis, a student at Rugby School, decided to forge his path. Instead of kicking the ball forward, as was the custom, he grabbed it by his hands and ran with it to make his touchdown. As much as there is evidence that William was a student at the school, there’s no record of him having done what has become a sport. Whether it’s true or not, it sure makes for a great story- the making of history. The game’s first rules were drawn up in 1845, and these make up what governs the rugby union game.
The love for the game did not stop there. Even after leaving school, young men still wanted to play rugby. The few matches they played as alumni were not enough to satisfy them, and they soon started forming football clubs. The first rugby club was formed in 1858, paving the way for many that soon followed. It was only a matter of time before the game spread to other parts of the world, such as Scotland and Ireland, before finally becoming internationally recognized as it is today.
Today, rugby is one of the most popular sports globally and accounts for a considerable chunk of gambling plays. Most countries have national teams to represent them in global competitions, and even women teams are now taking center stage as the game gains more following. As of 2000, more than 100 countries had joined the International Rugby Board, a number that continues growing as more people grow to appreciate its play. At present, some countries dominate the sport. These are Wales, Scotland, France, England, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and Australia. You will find these nations topping the leaderboards, with their players making the highest wages compared to other countries.
This game has 15 players a side, save for its variant with seven players a side. It is the most common version of the game, so much so that its international events sell out weeks in advance. You can also catch the matches from home or a local pub. The matches are quite friendly, and while fans may not be on the same side, they are quite civil with each other, with violence taking place on the pitch.
Here, 13 players make up a team. It has two variants, with one having seven players a side and the other having nine a side. It is played in fewer countries, with the most notable players being Papua New Guinea, the north of England, the South Pacific, Australia, the south of France, and urban New Zealand.
I would want to get into how the gameplay works, but the truth is that the rules are so many and confusing that understanding them all would be almost impossible. Even players are not always sure they are doing the right thing, and referees have to stand by, waiting to call out any bad plays. Plus, there are so many variations that even if I explain one, say Rugby Sevens, I will leave out another play. Even, when I created this website, found it difficult to describe all the rules in this wonderful game.
Now that you know a considerable lot about this game, how about catching one soon?